William Hooker

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 January 2012), February 1841, trial of WILLIAM HOOKER (t18410201-748).

Dated: 1st February 1841.

WILLIAM HOOKER was indicted for stealing, on the 21st of January, 5 bottles, value 1s.; and 4 quarts of wine, value 1l.; the goods of John Crowley and others, his masters.

MR. CLARKSON conducted the Prosecution.

WILLIAM WOODLEY . I am cellarman to Messrs. Polbill and Co., of Old Broad-street. On the 20th of January I delivered seven hampers, with four dozen of wine in each, to Crowley and Co.’s carman, without any directions—I went down on the 21st, and examined them, and put directions on them, and found them all right—they were to go to Birmingham by the railway.

GEORGE ALLEN . I am clerk to Crowley and Co. The prisoner was a wagoner in their employ—on the 21st of January I saw the seven hampers on the premises—they were weighed, and put into a wagon, No. 1—they weighed the weight that was on them—they appeared quite safe, and the cords all right—the prisoner had charge of the wagon in which they were placed—it was to go to Camden-town, to the station there.

Cross-examined by MR. DOANE. Q. What time did you weigh them? A. About five o’clock in the afternoon of the 21st of January—the prisoner was on the premises.

JAMES LISTER . I am one of the clerks to John Crowley and two others. On the 21st of January I was on duty at Camden-town railway station—they have no premises at the station—they are used in common for all the earners, and there are clerks on the line—the prisoner brought the wagon, No. 1, with goods, I saw it partly unloaded—after the horses had brought wagon No. 1, there was another wagon to which his horses were attached to bring it back to the City-road basin—he had left half an hour before my attention was called to the hampers—I found one of them had been opened—the porter put his arm in the opening—there were six other hampers—nothing was the matter with them—I had them weighed—one that was opened was about 15lbs. deficient.

Cross-examined. Q. What was the wagon that he took back loaded with? A. Various articles from Birmingham.

HENRY HALL . I am porter to Crowley and Co. I was present at the railway-station when the prisoner arrived with No. 1 wagon from eight to nine o’clock—he started in about half an hour after with the return wagon—I found one of the hampers with the string cut, and the lid partly open, and some straw hanging out by the side of the hamper—I told Mr. Lister of it—I put’ my hand in, lifted the top, and looked in, and found a vacancy.

JAMES TAYLOR . I am a constable employed by the Regent’s Canal Company. On the 21st of January I was crossing the City-road bridge, at about a quarter to ten o’clock in the evening, I observed a wagon, in Mr. Crowley’s employ, coming over the bridge.  I saw no one with it till I went to the back. I then saw the prisoner and a countryman in the wagon.  They seemed as if they were hunting about for some parcels.  During that time a boiler-plate fell out.  In two or three minutes I saw the prisoner throw his arm over the wagon, and heard something fall in the road, which sounded like a glass bottle. I went to the spot, and picked up this part of a glass bottle, and smelt it.  It appeared to me to have held wine.  I then looked at the two persons in the wagon.  The countryman was very much intoxicated indeed, and so was the prisoner, but the countryman was the most drunk.  I saw something dropping from the wagon, which appeared to be wine. I carried the glass bottle to Mr. Bulmer, and gave information.  He returned with me down Wharf-road, and met the wagon coming down.  The prisoner was taken to the counting-house, and given into my custody on suspicion of stealing wine.  He muttered something, as well as I could make out it was that he knew nothing about it.  I returned to the wharf, accompanied Mr. Buhner to the railway station, and saw the hamper, which appeared to have been opened.  We took out the bottles, and there were forty-three.  Mr. Bulmer examined the wagon.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you say that the prisoner was trying to lift up the boiler plate? A. Yes, and I assisted him to do it.  They have let the other man off.

JOHN REUBENS BULMER . I am manager to Mr. Crowley and Co., at the City-road basin. Taylor gave me some information.  I went out and met the prisoner and his wagon.  I did not perceive much drunkenness in the prisoner, but his companion was quite drunk. Taylor brought part of a bottle to me, I examined, and found the remains of three bottles in the wagon.  Next morning I found one more, which, with the one the officer brought, would make five.  After taking the prisoner’ to the station, I went to Camden Town, and found the hamper had had the cord cut, and five bottles taken out.  It was new port wine, and those in the hamper were the same bottles, the same corks, the same age, and every thing.  I asked the prisoner what he had been doing with some wine. He said, “Nothing whatever” I said, “How came the bottles in your wagon?” He said he knew nothing about it.

Cross-examined. Q. How long had he been in your service? A. About seven months, we had a character with him.

HENRY FARRAH . I accompanied the prisoner part of the way from the City-Road basin to Camden-Town station.  When we got to the City-Road bridge, he told me to go to the Salisbury Arms public-house for 3s., and he went on without me. I met him on the wharf-Road on his return. He did not seem very drunk. I got the 3s. It was my duty to accompany him to the station, but I was forced to obey his orders.

(James Andrews, carman, at Uxbridge; and Alexander Hayes, of the Crown public-house, Uxbridge; gave the prisoner a good character.)

GUILTY . Aged 27.   Transported for Seven Years.

(There was another indictment against the prisoner.)